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Entire Georgetown basketball team kneels for anthem, loses game by 23 points

The American flag (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell)
March 22, 2021

Georgetown University’s entire basketball team took a knee prior to their March Madness NCAA Tournament game against Colorado on Saturday before losing by more than 20 points.

During the national anthem before the game, every team member of Georgetown took a knee, whereas every Colorado team member remained standing. The Colorado Buffaloes then beat the Georgetown Hoyas 96-73 in the single-elimination tournament, sending the kneeling players back to Washington, D.C. while they move on to the second round.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Pat Forde shared an image of the scene on Twitter Saturday.

In October, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he understood the annoyance some fans have with the presence of politics during games.

“The NBA has certainly been the most visible billion-dollar organization championing social justice and civil rights,” ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Silver. “As you noted in your press conference the other day, though, that has not been universally popular. How committed are you to being that going forward?”

“We’re completely committed to standing for social justice and racial equality, and that’s been the case going back decades. It’s part of the DNA of this league,” Silver responded. “How it gets manifested is something that we’re going to have to sit down with the players and discuss for next season.”

“I would say in terms of the messages you see on our court, on the jerseys – this was an extraordinary moment in time. When we began discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer, my sense is there will be somewhat a return to normalcy,” he continued.

“That those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor. And I understand those people who are saying, ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.’”

In February, Dallas Mavericks billionaire owner Mark Cuban decided the team will no longer play the national anthem at home games. The NBA later issued a statement saying the anthem would continue to be played.

Cuban confirmed to The Athletic that he decided to end the tradition of playing the Star-Spangled Banner before home games — a move that flew under the radar for the first games of the preseason and regular-season but was noticed Monday after the Mavericks allowed fans to once again enter the arena.

NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass subsequently issued a statement regarding the league’s rule on playing the national anthem, stating, “With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy.”